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Weekly Response/Blonde Venus

            When Patrice Petro discusses the film Blonde Venus she brings up several different views others have shared concerning its presentation and overall message. The film, staring Marlene Dietrich, tells the tale of a German woman named Helen and her fight to keep her son while dealing with the fact that her husband is ill and that she has been unfaithful to him. She goes on the run from her revengeful husband as she tries to keep her son and make ends meet while avoiding the authorities and longing for her lost true love. That's the basic nuts and bolts of the film however Petro brings to light several underlying themes in the film which are both fascinating and well developed.
             Issues of sexuality and femininity are obvious throughout the film as we see basically a single mother struggling to get by using all means. Helen is a gifted performer as we see early in the film when she becomes a famous cabaret singer and she uses to her advantage when she is on the run to make money and to seduce men into assisting her. While some see the film as part of a cycle of movies about the "fallen woman" others saw a strong feminist character and still others saw "Dietrich's status as a queer icon among lesbian audiences in the 1930's." She was a strong leading lady who instead of needing a man was perfectly content and able to go it on her own and provide and care for her child. This was most evident when we see Helen take the city of Paris over with her performances at several high society cabarets. Prior to that she was living on ends meet and socializing with prostitutes and the homeless. She used the skills she had to her advantage to help her get through tough times and as they same where I"m from "u can't knock da hustle". .
             Another topic Petro discusses related to the film is the issue of race. She talks about how the movie is layered in "racialized characters, such as Irish Dan O"Connor .

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